February 23, 2024

House leaders open to dialogue with Senate on RBH 6

THE leadership of the House of Representatives led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez is open to a dialogue with their Senate counterparts to address the seemingly unceasing word war between congressmen and senators on efforts to amend the 37-year-old Philippine Constitution.

But House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe said senators should stop attacking the integrity of members of the House of Representatives, especially its leader Speaker Romualdez, saying it was unacceptable and unparliamentary.

“Lagi naman kaming sinasabihan ng aming Speaker na bukas ang House leadership sa anumang dialogue sa mga kasama natin sa Senado. We consider them as partners in nation-building,” Dalipe said in a press conference.

“Kailangan naming tumayo bilang isang kapulungan para ipagtanggol ang aming dignidad at sinisira  dahil lamang sa mga maling akusasyon ng ilang mga senador sa People’s Initiative,” he added. “We are shocked sa ginagawa nila sa amin.”

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman expressed disappointment over the actions of some senators in attacking not only Romualdez but the institution of the House of Representatives itself.

“We are just going about our duties as congressmen and congresswomen and we have always viewed them as partners. And all of a sudden, magkakaroon ng Senate inquiry – okay karapatan ninyo ‘yan – pero ‘yung ganun bababuyin ang aming lider sino ba kami na hindi magre-react,” Roman stressed.

“Sa totoo lang, this rift should not have existed in the first place had they (senators) exercised some form or some minimum amount of empathy. Kelan sa kasaysayan ng Kongreso na ang isang chamber mag-oorganize ng isang inquiry tapos ang matatarget ‘yung lider ng isang chamber?” she added.

Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. echoed the sentiments of Dalipe and Roman.

“Sa mga senador, kung puwede po tigilan na itong personal na paninira sa aming Speaker. Ayaw na po naming lumalim ito. Ayaw na po naming lumalim ang usaping ito. Tigilan na po ninyo ang paninira, ang mga pangit pakinggan na hindi puwedeng gayahin ng susunod na henerasyon,” Gonzales said.

“Kaya sa inyong lahat, magtrabaho po tayo ng maayos. Marami po tayong problema and as I have said, ayaw na po naming lumalim ito. Tigilan na po ninyo ang paninira sa aming Speaker. Salamat po,” he added.

DISCUSSIONS ON RBH NO. 6

Dalipe disclosed that Romualdez is elated that the Senate has already begun its discussion on Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 that seeks to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, but lawmakers are wary that the timeline to approve the measure remains open-ended.

“Natutuwa po kami sa pagsimula ng deliberasyon ng RBH 6. Sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, mula noong 1987, ngayon lamang umupo uli ang Senado para bisitahin ang mga probisyon nito (Konstitusyon),” Dalipe said.

“(Pero) si Senate President (Zubiri), ang sinabi niya mismo, (siya ang) nagtakda ng deadline sa presscon niya na ginawa nung January 15, ang araw na nag-file siya ng RBH No. 6,” he said, referring to the self-imposed deadline of Zubiri on the first quarter of the year as his commitment to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. 

Members of the House of Representatives overwhelmingly rallied behind Romualdez when they approved House Resolution (HR) No. 1562 entitled, “Expressing Unwavering Solidarity and Support to the Leadership of the Honorable Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, and Upholding the Integrity and Honor of the House of Representatives in the Face of Intense Assault from the Senate in Violation of the Principle of Interparliamentary Courtesy and Undue Interference in the Performance of its Legislative and Constituent Functions.”

“Hindi namin gusto ang word war … inilabas lang ng mga congressmen ang kanilang saloobin nangyaring pag-atake sa aming Speaker at sa aming institusyon,” Dalipe disclosed.

“Sa aming all-member caucus na ginawa last week, grabe talaga ang galit na inilabas ng mga kasama namin mga congressmen. Galit sila sa pamabastos na ginawa ng ilang senador sa aming Speaker at sa House of Representatives sa mga session nila at hearing kaugnay sa People’s Initiative,” he added.

“We in the leadership need to temper the situation all the time. Kaya ang napagkasunduan po namin ay gumawa at maglabas ng isang House Resolution para ilabas ang collective sentiment bilang isang kapulungan,” he said.

Roman said that if the situation is reversed, senators will also be angered by their own actions.

“Bakit di natin baliktarin ang sitwasyon. What if we organize a congressional inquiry tapos ang idadawit natin si SP Migz Zubiri? But of course, we take the higher moral ground and we will never do that. That’s unthinkable,” Roman said.

“Tapos sasabayan mo pa ng mga insinuation that we engage in illicit and illegal activity. Ano ba yan, kayo na lang ang tama at kami mali? Kayo na lang ang nagmamahal sa bansa at kami hindi? Kayo lang ang defenders of the Constitution at kami gusto naming babuyin ang Constitution? Self-righteous, much?” she expressed.